Sunday, August 1, 2010

Caribana Festival Marks the Caribbean Culture in Toronto --1

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The two-week Caribana festival came to an end yesterday with several kilometre long street parade on the Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto. More than a million spectators witnessed the event from both sides of the road. Spectacularly colourful human-driven floats, Caribbean festival costumes and music and dance were the highlights of the parade. Spectators also could taste Caribbean delicacies from numerous roadside vendors.

Caribana -- a festival of Caribbean culture and tradition -- is the north America's largest cultural show held every year in Toronto since 1967. Initially, immigrants from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, organized this festival in a limited way. Later immigrants from other islands also joined them. Now it is an institution in itself drawing thousands of tourists from all over the world. Toronto businesses earn millions of dollars during this festival period.

Colourfully costumed dancers, called Mas players, dance in tune with different Caribbean music blared from powerful speakers placed onto large trucks. Dancers' costumes imitate the exotic colours of plumes of birds found in the tropical climates.

Those, from different cultures, initially get a kind of shock when they view the scantily-clad dancers because in their own cultures back home such public display would be considered quite sensual and sensitive. Canada is a country that encourages and supports multiculturalism. Different cultures and languages are allowed to flourish here. Canada truly believes in the unity in diversity.

Several hundred years ago, black slaves from different African countries were brought to the islands of the Caribbean Sea, situated in the south-east of the USA and north-west of the South American continent. Since the slaves came from hot-climate countries of Africa to the warm-climate islands of the Caribbean Sea, their costumes also have the minimal appendages. As such, the cultural expressions have also developed in such a way that they consider such clothing as purely non-sensual and normal.

Now let us view some photos of the Caribana parade.


Photo (Toronto: July 31, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa


(To be continued)

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